SURRATT: Let’s not forget that lone stocking and its owner

Published 4:00 am Thursday, December 23, 2021

While searching my brain for a column topic this week, I tried to find a fitting seasonal topic I could develop and put down on paper and settled on doing something I’ve done occasionally in the past when my thought process hits a roadblock while considering a column.

So while sitting at my desk one afternoon, I decided to reach back to a column I wrote before, pull out a particular section and build around that.

This week, I’m going to use the closing sermon from the 1947 movie “The Bishops’ Wife,” which starred David Niven, Loretta Young and Cary Grant. David Niven, who played the bishop, delivered this message as his Christmas sermon:

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“Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.

“Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child’s cry, a blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells and with gifts.

“But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer and Uncle Henry can do with a new pipe. For we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s his birthday we’re celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that.

“Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then let each put in his share, loving kindness, warm hearts and a stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.”

In the ball of confusion that hits around Christmastime, we become so enmeshed in our little worlds that we forget those who need our help and those who have selflessly helped us during the year. As we move into Christmas and then the new year, let’s remember the first responders who are working during the holidays so we can enjoy ours and the doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly and still do to help patients with COVID-19 and those people who are hospitalized with other illnesses so they will be able to see future Christmases.

And let’s not forget the reason for the season — that an infant was born who would become a man who stood for love and peace and loved mankind so much that he was willing to give his life to save it.

May all of you have a wonderful Christmas filled with joy and love, and may you enjoy it in the company of friends and family.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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